Pullbox Reviews: Jughead’s Time Police #1- The River of Time runs through Riverdale

When Jughead messes up his Riverdale Annual Bake-Off pie recipe so terribly, he is disqualified and banned from all future Bake-Offs! Jug goes to unthinkable lengths to fix his error: time travel! Even Riverdale’s most erudite teenager can’t manage the delicate dance of going back in time, and poor Juggie lands himself in an epic battle to keep the time stream intact.

Join the terrifically talented create team of writer Sina Grace (Uncanny X-Men) and Eisner Award-winning artist Derek Charm (Jughead) in this new comedic adventure.

When Jughead tanks his entry in the annual pie contest, he doesn’t mess around. The lifetime ban sends him spiraling into a pit of despair and self-recrimination the likes of which has never before been seen on the face of the Earth. In all the history of mankind, no single person has shouldered such shame (except maybe for the guy in charge of the Sphynx’s nose job). Not even a platter full of Pop’s cheeseburgers on Veronica’s tab is enough to pull him out of his tailspin.

Some people just really like pie.

With the weight of penultimate failure pulling him down, Jughead will follow the only course of action left to him: take a crash course on theoretical physics, maybe watch a few sci fi movies, and solve the riddle of time travel! Only then will he be able to fix his mistakes and soldier on with his life.

Seriously… some people REALLY like pie.

Long gone are the days where the Archies spent all of their time in Pops’ Diner, sucking down milkshakes and eating cheeseburgers. Now the line of comicbooks runs the full gamut of storylines and embraces the concept of a Multiverse (yup, more physics). Over the course of his books, Jughead has become more than an archetype for sloth and gluttony- in one of his titles he’s even a werewolf who hungers for human flesh!

Okay, the gluttony may have stuck with the character. I’m not making this stuff up, honest.

If the werewolf thing is too much for you, don’t worry. For Jughead’s Time Police, writer Sina Grace has put together something a little more mundane. His story follows Jughead on his journey from the Great Riverdale Pie Debacle, to perfecting time travel and shredding the space/time continuum. Relax, it’ll be fine, particularly given Grace’s ability to mine the absurd for laughs, both subtle and outrageous. At no time does he bog things down with serious consideration to things like actual science or a sense of consequence (this is Jughead we’re talking about, and the absurd is kinda his thing). Instead, Grace gives every sense that he’s having a blast. It’s that spirit that carries the book past the obvious silliness and makes it just plain entertaining.

The team of Derek Charm (art) and Matt Herms (colors) have adopted a style in keeping with the light-hearted tone of the title. They’ve done a great job of making these time-tested characters recognizable and true to their comic strip roots. I’m not saying that the visuals are dated in any way, just that they’ve gone with a more relaxed look that isn’t too hung up on realism. Remember… time travel and pie contests. At no time is there any doubt that Jughead’s Time Police is anything but comedic relief in the best of ways. Charm’s drawings have just the right degree of detail and a great sense of comedic action. Fleshed out by Herms’s colors, the overall effect is easy on the eyes and anything but boring.

Rounding out the visual style of the book, Jack Morelli lays down the letters which all other letters will look upon with envy. Granted, there’s nothing particularly flashy about the letters, but that’s kinda the point. Letters are the vehicle by which the reader takes in the story. They aren’t supposed to take over the page or get in the way of the artwork, and if you’ve ever seen an example of bad lettering you know what I’m talking about. There are moments of panache’ thrown in, thanks to sound effects that give Morelli a chance to stretch his creative legs a bit, bot overall he seems comfortable enough to keep it simple, clear, and concise.

Without a doubt, Archie Comics have evolved. What’s very cool to see, especially for someone who used to get the newsstand Archie Comics Digests, is that they haven’t abandoned fun for the sake of angst and melodrama (the horror stuff is pretty cool, though). Jughead’s Time Police brings up feelings of nostalgia and doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s not what I generally read when I’m looking for a comic, and that turned out to be a very good thing.

Final Grade: A-

Umm…. Jug?
Hail to the King…
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